And now for something a little bit different!
One of the best bits about October (for me, anyway) is Halloween. Call me a big kid, but I love all the inventive (and not so inventive) fancy dress costumes, spooky films and overdoing the sweeties. I also love that it’s a light-hearted, fun holiday that distracts my attention from the fact that the clocks have just gone back and our days are steadily getting shorter and shorter – which means leaving for work in the dark, coming back from work in the dark, and my garden looking ever more bedraggled as daylight hours wane. All the good stuff!
We need a bit of extra comforting as the winter draws in, so this week I’ve got an easy, warming recipe for you. Pumpkins are at their best in October, and they’re synonymous with Halloween. It’s loads of fun to carve them into scary faces or nice designs with your kids, or just in front of the TV with some friends. Carving pumpkins is a great excuse to get creative and try your hand at a new skill, and you can use the tasty leftover flesh for this simple but hearty soup.
- 2 onions
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 kg pumpkin flesh (squash works well too) – keep the seeds for roasting!
- 1 carrot
- 1 stick of celery
- 1 litre of vegetable stock, made with boiling water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: 2 diced cloves of garlic, 1 tsp chilli powder, 1 tbsp coriander seeds
You will need:
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board
- Large pan
- Hand blender or food processor
Let’s get cooking!
- Finely chop the onions and pumpkin (or squash), and peel and chop the carrots.
- Heat the olive oil over a medium heat, and cook the onions for about five minutes until they’re soft and slightly see-through. Add the diced garlic at this stage, if you’re using it.
- Add the pumpkin and carrots to the pan, and cover for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veg is tender.
Add the salt and pepper (and any other optional seasoning), stir in thoroughly, and then pour in the vegetable stock. Bring it to the boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 10-15 minutes, or until the pumpkin and carrot are soft.
- Whizz the mixture in the food processor or with the hand blender, leaving a few chunky bits if you prefer it that way or blending for longer if you’d like it smooth.
- Pour into bowls, and serve topped with chopped coriander, a swirl of olive oil or a dollop of crème fraîche. Pair with a few rounds of buttered crusty bread or, for a real treat, some melted cheese on toast! a cosy hug in meal form!